At Bolt PR, when we say our people are everything, we mean it. They are who and what make Bolt the agency we are today. And we like to celebrate our team every chance we get. That celebration doesn’t begin and end with work achievements. We know that there is so much more to our team members than what we see in the office each day; they have unique stories, interests, triumphs and adventures, so we’re giving a behind the scenes (BTS) look at one of our Bolt Bulldogs each month in this new spotlight series. First up, Ailani Hause. Her travels to the 2018 Winter Games had us all feeling a little FOMO, so we asked her to share a firsthand account of this awesome adventure…
Thursday morning, I woke up with a text from one of my closest friends saying, “let’s go to South Korea for the 2018 Winter Games.” She followed with, “don’t think about it, just say yes.” She knows spontaneity is my weakness. A few short hours later, I got the go-ahead from my boss and pulled the trigger on a flight and hotel. Less than 72 hours later, we touched down in Seoul, South Korea.
We landed in the evening and ran into some friends of friends at the baggage claim who invited us out on the town for dinner and drinks. We went to a traditional Korean restaurant where we tried all kinds of strange food – including LIVE octopus (not the easiest thing to pick up with chopsticks). After dinner, we made our way to a karaoke bar and gave our best attempt at singing along to Korean pop. After nearly losing our voices, we returned to our hotel to rest up for the games in the morning.
Four taxis, three trains and two shuttles later we arrived in PyeongChang for the 2018 Winter Games. The energy in the air was something I’ve never felt before. Friends, families, athletes, coaches, media and spectators swarmed the gates lining the bottom of the Women’s Snowboard Halfpipe Final. Chloe Kim, also a southern Californian, ripped down the pipe and scored a 93.75 on her first run, and it hit me – I AM HERE! It was an absolute media frenzy as the crowd went wild. I felt an overwhelming sense of pride to be witnessing history first hand.
We hung around and took turns exchanging hand warmers until the men’s snowboard pipe qualifier started. We stood huddled with the family of competing athlete, Ben Ferguson, as we watched him nail every move down the halfpipe. I remember thinking, how do they make this look so easy?! The results were in and four USA athletes qualified for the finals – including Ben! Watching the cameras pan to catch the reaction of the families and agents of the respective athletes was surreal – so much better than TV.
After the qualifying round ended we were invited to the Red Bull athlete lounge by our friends from the night before. Everyone there was someone – athletes, agents, managers and families. We casually chatted it up with medalists over food and beers. I just couldn’t believe the day we had. Soon it was time to leave if we were going to make our train. Which we didn’t. Three of them to be exact. Ahh…the art of traveling. We finally got back to our hotel close to 2 a.m. and went straight to bed.
We decided it would be best to skip out on the train after last night’s events. Instead we took a car from our hotel to PyeongChang to watch the Men’s Snowboard Halfpipe Finals. We linked up with the friends we had met at the athlete lounge and watched as Shaun White took gold. This was indescribable, the energy in the crowd could be felt all over the world.
Post-halfpipe finals we went back to the Red Bull athlete lounge and celebrated the big win. I got to meet almost all of the USA Men’s snowboard and Women’s ski teams. Bronze medalist, Arielle Gold said her neck was sore from the weight of her medal so she hung it around my neck. In a few short minutes, I had to return it back to her because my neck was starting to hurt – those things are so heavy!!! We wrapped up the night with a game of bowling, I am proud to say I beat our very own USA medalists. We said our good-byes and made the drive back to Seoul to catch our flight back to Los Angeles. I couldn’t be more grateful for this once-in-a-lifetime experience and I couldn’t be more proud to be an American!